By Shanna Woods, Farm Steward

Since the age of eight I have been with Youth Farm. My evolution of involvement began as a youth farmer, to a Youth Farm Allstar, and then transitioned into a LEAD staff, and now a Farm Steward. Between the path of being a LEAD staff and Farm Steward I had checked out service and youth development in different capacities while always maintaining appreciation for the Youth Farm program.

This summer I returned back to Youth Farm after two years. It was awesome seeing how the program has maintained and enhanced its ability to teach urban youth the importance of developing healthy eating choices and knowing the origin of where their produce is from. This year was my first year of being an adult staff. I had the awesome opportunity to work the Allstars focus group.

The Allstars is an activity grouped geared toward the older youth of ages 12-14. The focus of the Allstars group is to provide fun opportunities to gain leadership, critical thinking, teamwork, and personal development skills. The Allstars received chances to provide input in operational planning of the program and contribution in community development events in their neighborhood. The Allstars had a a few big projects this summer. They coordinated a watered themed Fun Friday event for all the Youth Farmer with different games. They assisted with planning a community event alongside Lyndale Neighborhood Association. The event was restoring a community playground call Pocket Park that was in much need of attention and beautifying.

I was astonished at the ideas the young leaders had in mind for their different assigned tasks through the summer. I highly enjoyed the thoughtful conversations and discusses that took place on concepts of respect and cooperation. It was a blast to keep up with their energetic and fun spirits in games and downtime. I was very happy to work with a smart group of youth and future leaders of Youth Farm.